Finding an Effective Concert Make-Up Assignment

In my last post, I discussed how I re-evaluated my Concert Rubric a number of years ago, and made the choice to change what I was assessing so that it was a more effective and authentic assessment.


In this follow-up post, I’m discussing what is a challenge for many choir directors: what to use for a make-up assignment when students miss a concert.  


I realize it’s incredibly frustrating to have singers absent for a concert, and that it’s impossible to duplicate the assessment that a concert provides.  That being said, those students should still have to do a make-up assignment; it’s only fair to the other students involved that are spending the time and energy required of a concert.  So let’s talk make-up assignments for a second 🙂


Concert Make-Up Assignment


I am not one to create assignments that are punitive, but I also know that many of us teach in situations where it helps to have a make-up assignment that serves as a deterrent for those students that might be thinking about skipping your concert.  I also don’t want to create something that’s going to take a lot of time for me to grade, or require extra time outside of rehearsal.


In my experience, the best make-up assignment that I have found is having students sing concert repertoire in front of the class.  Most students will do just about anything to avoid singing in front of their peers. And while this doesn’t allow us to assess the student on the exact same set of standards, this does allow you to assess the student in many of your important standards and learning objectives, including their preparation on your concert repertoire.  


I will have students that were absent sing a cappella in a small group.  If I do not have all of the vocal parts covered, I will ask for volunteers to come up and sing–those students get a special thank you (a mini Kit-Kat or peanut butter cup 🙂   Having all vocal parts covered most accurately re-creates the performance environment, and provides the singers the musical context needed to be successful. Not only does this provide singers extra motivation to be at the concert, but it also helps keep singers motivated to pay attention during rehearsal!


An alternative would be to have the student sing through repertoire for you, but do it outside of rehearsal.  I would still make sure all vocal parts were covered, as this is the environment that most closely resembles the concert (you wouldn’t be asking them to sing by themselves at the concert).  The one logistical issue is that this requires the singers to meet with you outside of rehearsal, and it also takes extra time out of your already busy day. That’s another reason why I prefer to do the make-up assignment during class.

I hope you have found some of the ideas in this post helpful, and that they are things you can take and incorporate into your teaching.  In case you are interested, here’s a link to the Concert Make-Up Singing Rubric:


Make-Up Singing Rubric


Feel free to take it and tweak to fit your needs!




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